West Virginia Pounds Out 13 Hits, Gets Excellent Relief From Zarbnisky In 14-7 Victory

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Kyle Davis homered and had three hits and two RBI to lead West Virginia to a 14-7 win over Texas on Saturday as the Mountaineers secured the series.

Davis went 3-for-5 from his leadoff spot, scoring three times and heading a line-up that totalled 13 hits in pounding UT pitching for the second straight game. The top three spots in the order had multi-hit games, as Ivan Vera and Darius Hill each had two hits and combined for five RBI, three runs scored and a pair of doubles. West Virginia scored in seven of their eight innings, and has now outscored the Longhorns 25-9 in two series games, with 29 hits.

Ross Vance got the start, but lasted just 4.2 innings after giving up two runs in the 3rd, 4th and 5th frames. He was relived by Braden Zarbnisky (3-0), who picked up the win by pitching into the 9th while allowing just a single hit and earned run in providing some needed bullpen relief.

The series win was huge for the Mountaineers (26-19, 10-9), who moved 1.5 games ahead of fifth-place Texas (21-26, 9-11) in the Big 12 standings. WVU has now won four in a row and seven of eight to trail only Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU, all of which are ranked. Texas lost for the fifth time in six games, and must win Sunday to avoid just their second Big 12 series sweep of the season.

The game was tight early. West Virginia carried an 8-7 lead into the 6th inning before breaking the game open with four runs. Three came on Marques Inman's first career home run, a shot well over the left field wall that scored Ray Guerrini and Vera to give the Mountaineers a 12-7 edge. Davis then homered in the 7th inning for a 13-7 lead, and Kyle Gray scored on a fielder's choice in the 8th inning for the final margin.

Vance struggled for much of the game, giving up the two runs in three consecutive innings before giving way to Zarbnisky. The left-hander got within an out of four full frames, allowing six runs, all earned, with seven strikeouts and four walks. Vance had already reached 111 pitches, 70 for strikes, and had his ERA raise to 5.23 by the time he was pulled.

Texas starter Ty Culbreth went 4.1 innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on nine hits. The Longhorns used five relievers to get through the last four-plus innings in a disastrous outing. WVU stung the 'Horns with a pair of homers and three doubles, and has plated runs in 11 of the 16 innings in the series by sitting on fastballs.

Both teams were active early on offense. West Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on Vera's double to left-center to score Davis. The Mountaineers added four more runs in the 2nd, all with two outs after Gray beat out an infield single. Jimmy Galusky then walked, and Davis and Vera sandwiched run-scoring singles around Hill's two-RBI double down the third base line for the 5-0 lead. 

Texas answered with two runs in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly and Tres Barrera's team-best fifth homer of the season, a towering shot to left that brought the Longhorns within 5-2. UT added two more runs in the 4th on a Kody Clemens double and an RBI groundout. West Virginia then went ahead 6-4 in the bottom half when Gray scored during Hill's rundown, only to have UT chase Vance in the 5th inning after Kody Clemens tied the game 6-6 on a two out, two-run double.

Zarbnisky shut the door from there, Texas managing just one more run while West Virginia scored four in the 6th inning and one more in both the 7th and 8th in taking series, the final Big 12 one of the year at Mon County Ballpark. The game ran three hours and 25 minutes.

The series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. WVU will start right-hander Michael Grove (1-3, 2.90 ERA) against Texas' fellow righty Kyle Johnson (3-1, 2.95 ERA). In honor of Mother's Day, all tickets to mother's with a child present are $3. Kids will have an opportunity to run the bases and get autographs following the game.

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